The North Carolina Art Museum, located in Raleigh, has a park full of wonderful works of art. Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture II is one of them.
Shonibare is a London-born British-Nigerian artist whose work has been exhibited all over the world. He has a disability that has left him partially paralyzed and wheelchair-bound, but that hasn’t stopped him from creating beautiful works of art. Unable physically to carry out the making of the art, he directs a team of assistants who help him bring his creations into being.
Though he uses a variety of materials to create his art, one of his favorites is Dutch wax cloth, a printed cotton material popular throughout Africa. Shonibare uses the material extensively. In the case of Wind Sculpture II, the material was formed and then covered with a heavy coating of clear fiberglass to keep it’s shape. The result is a work of art that looks as if it’s being blown across the field by the wind.
It’s one of my favorite pieces from the Park. I love the colors and the playful feel of it being caught by the wind. It’s a beautiful work of art and one that makes me smile when I see it.
Ulalu is one of two sculptures by abstract artist Mark di Suvero in the North Carolina Art Museum Park. Di Suvero makes huge works of art using a crane and an arc welder. Steel H-beams and plates are his material of choice. Di Suvero was the first living artist to have his art shown in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris.
It amazes me how a material like huge steel beams can become such a beautiful work of art. The sculptures are huge but still are quite beautiful. Ulalu sits along the road running beside the museum and is a wonderful attraction for the art museum.
Collapse is a piece by South African sculptor Ladelle Moe. It’s a huge work of concrete and steel and measuring 30 feet long. I love the way it seems as if a giant being simply collapsed and has become a part of the landscape. It’s an impressive work. The NC Art Museum Park is full of great works of art like Collapse.
Askew is a 46′ tall sculpture by American artist Roxy Paine. Paine uses industrial materials, in this case steel, to create sculptures that seem to have sprung from nature, albeit with a twist.
Askew is a part of Paine’s series called “Dendroids.” After extensive research on how trees grow, and based on a language he invented that describes how these trees “grow”, the artist assembles the Dendroids from steel. The effect is quite striking. The sculpture, while obviously man-made, feels natural in the way the branches reach out from the trunk. It’s fascinating to see birds perched on the branches of the sculpture, as if it were a real tree.
During the last 30 years of his life, French Impressionist Claude Monet spent many hours in his garden at Givenchy. His eyesight clouded by cataracts, Monet created one painting after another of his beloved water lilies, producing around 250 oil paintings of the flowers.
I found these water lilies in the Rodin Garden at the North Carolina Art Museum in Raleigh. I love the quiet peacefulness of the garden and was struck by the beauty of the water borne plants. I spent a few minutes watching the little blue dragonflies touch down on a lily pad, only to take flight again a few seconds later. It was time well spent.
This ethereal work of two heads- a mother and daughter- by award winning Spanish artist Jaume Plensa was installed at the North Carolina Museum Park in April 2017. The wire mesh construction and size make it difficult to determine race or gender, creating a kind of universal portrait.
Plensa’s art has been exhibited worldwide, from Sweden, Spain and France to Chicago and, now Raleigh.
Art amazes me. I love the way the artist can make these 13-foot tall steel mesh heads feel fleeting and lighter than air. The expressions on the closed-eyed faces also impart a dream-like feel. Finally, due to the mesh construction, the sculptures seem to change as you view them from different angles. I never tire of looking at them.
This interesting little structure is called Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky and was designed by British artist Chris Drury. It’s an interactive artwork. You enter the chamber, close the door and sit quietly in the dark until your eyes adjust. There’s a tiny hole in the roof that serves as a pinhole camera. Once your eyes adjust you can see the trees that surround the Cloud Chamber projected on the walls of the chamber. It uses nature to create art.
The Museum Park at the North Carolina Museum is full of interesting artwork. There’s also an amphitheater where moves are shown and concerts are held. We’ve had some wonderful evenings at the park, watching a movie while, many miles away, lightning puts on a free light show against the clouds.